NewsGuard Launches World’s First Journalist-Vetted Podcast Credibility Ratings to Help Advertisers and Streaming Platforms Identify and Support Trustworthy, Brand-Safe News Podcasts
With Three Major Podcast Streaming Platforms Already on Board, NewsGuard’s Ratings Will Set an Industry Standard for Assessing News Podcast Credibility
(May 8, 2023 — New York) NewsGuard, the news reliability data service that uses trained analysts to assess the credibility of news and information publishers, today announced the launch of a data product for podcast streaming platforms and advertisers that will enable safe, responsible advertising on news and information podcasts—a category many advertisers avoid due to brand-safety concerns.
The same ratings will also assist platforms with news content moderation.
Starting today, brands, ad agencies, adtech companies, and podcast streaming platforms can license credibility ratings for the most listened-to news and information podcasts. These ratings are produced and regularly updated by NewsGuard’s team of analysts, who apply basic, apolitical journalistic criteria and a transparent process to rate the credibility of each podcast.
NewsGuard has been the leader in the trust industry countering misinformation since its launch in 2018. Podcast ratings now join the company’s earlier ratings for news and information websites as well as for TV news networks and programs, enabling brands now confidently to advertise responsibly across the web, broadcast and podcasts, including to support quality journalism while ensuring their brand safety.
The podcast ratings include a trust score from 0-10, overall risk level, metadata fields, and a detailed written explanation of the podcast’s content and record of credibility and transparency. The ratings are used by brands and agencies to direct their ad spend toward highly trustworthy, brand-safe news podcasts while being protected from brand-safety and brand-suitability risks inherent in advertising on news and politics content.
Podcast streaming platforms can also use these ratings to moderate content on their platforms and promote highly trustworthy news and information podcasts in user searches and curated sections.
NewsGuard’s global team of misinformation experts will have rated the top 200 news podcasts on the largest streaming platforms by January 2024. These podcasts comprise the bulk of overall news and information podcast listenership and present valuable audiences for brands to reach.
“The global podcasting market is projected to have an annual compound growth rate of 27.6% from 2023 to 2030,” said Sruthi Palaniappan, NewsGuard’s VP of Operations and New Products. “New and existing partners can now benefit from greater NewsGuard coverage across their omni-channel campaigns, using our transparently sourced ratings for news podcasts to enable advertising on trusted news and reach engaged audiences they might otherwise miss. These ratings will be especially valuable for brands that until now have been reluctant to support news and information podcasts with their advertising because there has not been an independent journalist-led transparent assessment of these podcasts to ensure advertisers’ brand safety.”
NewsGuard has already partnered with three of the largest podcast streaming platforms, which will inform their business partners of the availability of NewsGuard ratings.
Using the NewsGuard ratings, agencies and brands can decide to:
- Target only trustworthy podcasts by filtering based on overall score or risk level—for example, only buying ads on podcasts that score a 7 and above or receive a “lowest risk” rating.
- Avoid advertising on podcasts that regularly convey false information.
- Avoid advertising on heavily biased or politically slanted news shows.
Podcast streaming platforms will also use NewsGuard’s Podcast Reliability Ratings to curate recommended sections with highly trustworthy podcasts and make other content moderation decisions.
NewsGuard determines which news and information podcasts to rate based on factors including reported engagement, estimated ad revenue, and the volume of news and information content in the podcast’s episodes. The podcasts rated by NewsGuard include those that cover topics including politics, current affairs, health, business, and finance.
Rating Criteria and Process
The journalists at NewsGuard assess news and information podcasts based on five journalistic criteria:
- Does not regularly convey false, unchallenged information: 4 points
- Conveys news on important topics responsibly: 3 points
- Is not dominated by one-sided opinion: 1 point
- Discloses, or does not have, a political agenda: 1 point
- Differentiates advertising and commercial partnerships from editorial content: 1 point
Based on NewsGuard’s judgment with regard to whether the podcast generally adheres to each of the criteria, a podcast receives a score from 0-10, a corresponding risk level, and is accompanied by a detailed Nutrition Label that explains the score.
Launched in March 2018 by media entrepreneur and award-winning journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites. NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and now in Australia and New Zealand. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard, NewsGuard for Advertisers, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety, the Misinformation Fingerprints catalog of top false narratives online, and NewsGuard for AI, used to train generative AI such as chat bots.
In 2022, NewsGuard began rating television news and information programs and networks using criteria similar to those used to score websites but adapted for the video medium. NewsGuard’s TV ratings are the first to go beyond its initial ratings of websites. Ratings for CTV and OTT news programming and news and information podcasts will also be available for licensing in 2023.
NewsGuard’s ratings are conducted by trained journalists using apolitical criteria of journalistic practice.
NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels are licensed by browsers, news aggregators, education companies, and social media and search platforms to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. Consumers can also access NewsGuard’s website ratings by purchasing a subscription to NewsGuard, which costs AU$6.95, NZ$6.95, US$4.95/month, €4.95/month or £4.95/month, and includes access to NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and its mobile app for iOS and Android. The extension is available for free on Microsoft’s Edge browser through a license agreement with Microsoft. Hundreds of public libraries globally receive free access to use NewsGuard’s browser extension on their public-access computers to give their patrons more context for the news they encounter online. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review the ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com.